The Oldest Cave Paintings in the World

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have created art. Some of the oldest cave paintings, which adorn cave walls around the world, have been preserved for thousands of years, offering a fascinating glimpse into our history.

In northwestern Bulgaria, Magura Cave began forming 15 million years ago. It spans about 2,500 meters and features paintings of stars, animals, tools, plants, and scenes of people hunting and dancing from various eras.

Magura Cave, Bulgaria:

The "Cave of the Hands" dates back 13,000 to 9,500 years and is famous for its stenciled outlines of human hands. It also includes depictions of animals and hunting scenes, created using natural mineral pigments.

Cueva de las Manos, Argentina:

Discovered in 2002, Laas Geel features Ethiopian-Arabic-style paintings on 20 rock panels, the largest being 10 meters long. These colorful paintings, dating back 3,000 to 4,000 years, mostly show cows and humans, providing some of the oldest evidence of cattle domestication in the Horn of Africa.

Laas Geel, Somalia:

The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, in the Vindhyan Mountains, have paintings from 30,000 years ago to the Medieval period. They depict hunter-gatherer activities, reflecting the traditional lifestyle of the area.

Bhimbetka, India:

Serra da Capivara's cave paintings, some over 25,000 years old, mark an important archaeological site in South America. Evidence suggests the first people settled there around 50,000 years ago.

Serra da Capivara, Brazil:

The famous Lascaux cave paintings date back 15,000 to 17,000 years. Discovered in 1940 by four teenagers, the cave walls are covered with around 600 paintings and drawings of animals and symbols, plus nearly 1,500 engravings.

Lascaux, France:

Altamira Cave's art spans over 20,000 years, starting about 36,000 years ago. Highlights include a 6.5-foot hind, polychrome bison, and a ceiling of red horses painted with ochre.

Altamira, Spain:

Ubirr at Kakadu National Park showcases paintings depicting human relationships with the environment. The oldest art, including the extinct thylacine, dates back 2,000 to 3,000 years, while newer paintings of Europeans are from around the 1880s.

Ubirr at Kakadu, Australia:

Coliboaia Cave, located in the Bihor Mountains, features prehistoric charcoal drawings and engravings dated to at least 30,000 BCE. It holds some of the oldest examples of Stone Age art in Europe.

Coliboaia Cave, Romania:

Twyfelfontein, also known as /Ui-//aes, contains one of Africa's largest collections of petroglyphs. The well-preserved engravings of rhinoceroses, elephants, ostriches, and giraffes, created with red ochre, date back to the Late Stone Age, over 2,000 years ago.

Twyfelfontein, Namibia:

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